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Quick Communications Drill 1: Practicing fire ground transmissions while breathing air.

Attempting to transmit through your face piece is what some might call an art, but it’s actually a science. And like other sciences, it requires experimentation. Your variables are voice quality, voice strength, mic placement, and noise cancelling and isolation.

How can you ensure your message is getting through? First, you must ensure you're speaking clearly- call it voice quality. You have to fight the nose cone and chin cup that are doing their job in keeping a good seal on your face and open your mouth like you would when speaking without the constraint of a mask. Failing to speak clearly gives your transmissions the quality of Mush Mouth (the character in Fat Albert who’s voice was constrained by a ski mask), and negates any attempt to send your message clearly.

Next, you must find the volume of your voice that best carries it through your voice diaphragm in the face piece and to your portable radio mic. Too loud, and you're garbled. Too soft, and no one hears you. Those with voice amplifiers know that normal speaking conversation volume suffices- and know that holding the mic close but not right up against the amplifier works best, too.

You also must experiment with where to hold your remote mic to see what works best for your face piece and voice. Some find that holding the remote mic close to the voice diaphragm works best. These diaphragms vary in location by manufacturer- Scott’s AV-3000 face piece has diaphragms on both sides of the mask mounted regulator interface, and MSA has their “speech diaphragm” in the front, above the regulator. These are designed to carry your voice to the outside of your face piece by thin pieces of metal reverberating as you speak. Others find that holding the mic close to your throat works, catching your voice in a similar manner to a tactical bone mic worn around the neck.

It all boils down to what works best for you. Experiment with it. Hold a drill with your shift and find your sweet spot so that your message carries through loud and clear.

Keep fire ground communications in your life!     

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